Stretch Marks..Causes And Prevention

Stretch marks, also known as striae, are scars that appear on various parts of your skin, primarily around the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, lower back and even around your calves. They start out red and purple in appearance and later fade to a slightly off-colored hue that is similar to your skin tone, but still noticeable upon closer inspection. Stretch marks are often the product of stretching or tearing of the dermis, which is one of the layers of skin on a person’s body. For many people, stretch marks can be embarrassing and unsightly, but most cases can be avoided. 
So what causes this and how can we prevent it?
1. Rapid Weight Gain and Obesity
One of the most common causes of stretch marks for most people is rapid weight gain or obesity. Anywhere in a person’s body where fat is stored is most likely to be affected by stretch marks. The size and the amount of stretch marks that appear depend on the extent of a person’s weight gain. The more weight that is gained in a short time frame, the more severe the stretch marks will appear.
2. Growth Spurts
Some teenagers may be alarmed to find stretch marks around their body, especially when they aren’t overweight or haven’t suffered from rapid weight gain at any point in their lives. The common explanation for the appearance of these stretch marks is from rapid growth spurts, especially during puberty. Just like rapid weight gain and obesity, any time the body grows or expands faster than the elasticity of the skin can handle, stretch marks can appear.
3. Weight Lifting
Weight lifting and those who start putting on more muscle mass at a rapid pace, like athletes, can expect to see stretch marks on their body, even though they are in good shape. This is why stretch marks cannot be used to identify a weight problem or obesity, since they can occur on people in top physical condition; the muscles under the skin are just growing too fast for the skin to handle. Those who are affected by stretch marks due to muscle building tend to see scarring primarily around the arms and shoulders.
4. Pregnancy
Pregnancy is most likely the predominant cause of stretch marks in most women. Because a woman’s stomach is expanding at such a rapid pace during pregnancy, it is highly likely that she will develop stretch marks around her belly. Multiple pregnancies can lead to the formation of new stretch marks after each pregnancy.
5. Hormones
Hormonal imbalances have been labelled as one of the common causes of stretch marks. Since hormonal changes occur during puberty, pregnancy, obesity and even weight lifting, it’s hard to pinpoint which particular factor is to blame for the appearance of stretch marks. The hormonal imbalance that occurs during these times can cause collagen and elastin fibres to tear over stretched skin, creating the appearance of stretch marks.
Unfortunately, stretch marks have a tendency to remain on a person’s body, even after pregnancy or losing weight. Another major issue with stretch marks is that most treatment methods available are ineffective, and the ones that actually work, typically cost more. The best thing a person can do to deal with stretch marks is to prevent them as much as possible:
  • Apply topical ointments rich in vitamin E in areas where one might expect stretch marks to form, like around the belly before pregnancy.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water to help with inner-moisture.
  • Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, which are diuretics that suck out the moisture from your body.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins that can help keep the skin strong and healthy.
  • Use moisturisers to help with skin elasticity.
  • Ingest more nutrients like zinc that can help with your skin’s elasticity.

5 Simple Tips To Treat Stretch Marks In Teenagers

1. Exercise Regularly:

Regular stretching and exercising is one of the best ways of treating stretch marks in your teenager.
  • It prevents gaining weight and fat and hence controls stretch marks from developing further.
  • When your teenager engages in regular exercising, it helps tone his body and treats stretch marks automatically

2. Hydrate Properly:

The more water your teenager drinks, the more his skin will remain hydrated.
  • A well-hydrated skin makes stretch marks more supple and soft and it can fix stretch marks in much more easier way.
  • Your teenager must drink 8-12 glasses of water every day to keep his skin well-hydrated.

3. Healthy Food Choices:

When your teenager eats healthy foods which are high in Vitamin A and C, he stands a better chance of treating stretch marks.
  • Foods rich in Vitamin A and C help make more collagen and elastin in body.
  • These are extremely important for healing stretch marks. So try and include more oranges, grapefruits, milk, peaches and other fruits and vegetables that produce collagen and elastin in the body.

4. Over-The-Counter Creams:

If you find stretch marks in your teenager are taking long to heal, you may also use certain Over-The-Counter stretch marks cream available in the market.
  • These have collagen and elastin and help tighten the skin a lot.
  • Most of these are dermatologically tested and are safe to use.
  • You must consult your family physician before buying or using any of these creams.

5. Vitamin E-Rich Massage Oil:

Regular massaging the area, with good Vitamin E-rich body oil, will help your teenager get rid of stretch marks.
  • You must act patiently when trying this method though.
  • Gently massage the affected area everyday with the oil and slowly you will see results.
  • You can also use a good moisturizer. It basically makes your skin more elastic so when the skin grows, it controls stretch marks lot better and prevents it too.

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